Let me start off this morning by validating your frustrations, folks. At this point Quarterback Weekly is pretty much just Quarterback Whenever I Say So and content is seriously lacking, I know. It’s not that I don’t want to give you the best semi-semi-professional sports journalism out there; it’s just that life is a blur for me right now. For instance, last night I somehow ended up dancing with the most beautiful girl in the world at a Halloween party and was too focused on praying that I wasn’t going to wake up in my bed kicking my feet alone to devote myself to this here publication. But believe me, the ideas never stop and the Bortle Squad was going to change this game forever. That being said, I’ve got something good for y’all this time. Consider it my apology for neglecting your hungry mind these past couple of weeks.
For the first time in NFL history there are five teams with a record of 6-0. This means that we’ve found ourselves in a convenient junction as we enter the eighth week of this season. Week 8 is when anybody and everybody gives themselves the green light to begin making predictions for MVP, Rookie of the Year, and all of the NFL’s end-of-the-year awards. History tells us that MVP will probably go to a quarterback because the NFL makes more and more rules every year to ensure that defensive players will be fined and penalized should they give them a dirty look or – god forbid – touch them on any given play. Barring some quarterback going on an insane run and leading his team to the playoffs while putting up record-setting numbers outside of this group, our task is simply predicting which of the five undefeated quarterbacks will be hoisting the trophy come season’s end.
The five quarterbacks, listed in no particular order, are Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and Peyton Manning. Let’s play a fun little game and see if you can match these quarterbacks to their statistics through six games.
- 124 of 182 passes completed for 1,491 yards, 15 touchdowns and 2 interceptions; 29 rushing attempts for 160 yards 0 touchdowns
- 101 of 181 passes completed for 1,275 yards, 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions; 54 rushing attempts for 245 yards and 4 touchdowns
- 146 of 237 passes completed for 1,524 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions; 4 rushing attempts for -4 yards and 0 touchdowns
- 173 of 251 passes completed for 2,054 yards, 16 touchdowns and 1 interception; 18 rushing attempts for 19 yards and 2 touchdowns
- 130 of 193 passes completed for 1,761 yards, 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions; 27 rushing attempts for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns
As you might not expect from a group of quarterbacks leading squads that have yet to lose a game, there’s a really a mixed bag of stat lines that we’re looking at here. Quarterback 3 actually has more interceptions thrown than touchdowns while Quarterback 2 is cutting it pretty darn close, but bolstering his numbers with plenty of production on the ground. Quarterback 5 has 16 less completions than Quarterback 3 in 44 less attempts, speaking to a large disparity in efficiency. So what does it all mean?? Well, let’s go ahead and reveal the answers before we go any further. Pencils down, people! Pass your test to the left and don’t ask the person grading your paper to change your answers, this quiz will barely count against your grade.
- Aaron Rodgers
- Cam Newton
- Peyton Manning
- Tom Brady
- Andy Dalton
How did you guys do? Be honest now! Some statistics were particularly telling of whom they belonged to, for instance Cam Newton’s 245 rushing yards, unless for some reason you thought movement on the ground just screamed Peyton Manning. In which case, of course, you’d be an idiot and I’m telling you now because I love you. Now that we’ve got the numbers for all of our leading men let’s start making some claims and decide who will be our 2015-2016 Most Valuable Player.
As far as I’m concerned Peyton Manning is not really a participant in the race so let’s just get that out of the way. This is not a bash on Manning, contrary to pretty much anything else I’ve ever written about him, it’s just a realistic angle on where the QB is at this stage in his career. He’s thrown the ball 237 times through 6 games and has only managed to come up with 7 touchdowns. This is same guy who is two years removed from breaking the record for touchdown passes in a season. The other day I was telling my friend Sergio that I love watching Andrew Luck throw interceptions because it’s never just an unlucky tipped pass that ends up in a DB’s hands, he just flat out throws the ball really hard straight at a safety or linebacker and it absolutely cracks me up. Unfortunately, Peyton seems to be going in the same direction after that three-interception day against Cleveland. Now this isn’t a death sentence for Denver’s season, just a realization that their success hinges on their defense’s ability to continue bailing out the man under center.
Second-lowest on the list, but coincidentally my second-favorite candidate, is Cam Newton. Super Cam, or as my friend Joshua’s dad would call him, Sham Newton is at a disadvantage because of his “non-traditional” playing style. I’m referring, of course, to Newton’s propensity to get outside of the pocket and make plays with his feet as opposed to relying solely on his arm to get the job done irks the same announcers who would describe him as “a physical specimen” and Aaron Rodgers as “cerebral”. Before you have enough time to figure that one out and I get in trouble I’m going to interject that Cam has made a concerted effort to improve his play in the pocket this season as evidenced by his 1200 passing yards so far. His growing pains in the passing game can still be seen, but the progress is undeniable. Not to mention that he’s throwing the ball to guys who wouldn’t start on any other team besides maybe the Ravens. But let’s be honest, I could start for the Ravens at this point. The bottom line is that Newton flat-out finds ways to win and that is more important in my opinion than putting up gaudy numbers.
Andy Dalton is another guy exceeding previously low expectations for his success and doing it in a big way. Dalton, who had become known for turning the ball over when his team could least afford it, has turned his efficiency way up with 14 touchdowns against only 2 interceptions. The plethora of talent around him has boosted Dalton’s production exactly as the front office hoped it would. The emergence of Tyler Eifert has diminished the ability of defenses to focus on A.J. Green; while the pair of Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard has become as potent a one-two punch as there is in the league. Dalton’s MVP campaign will be hindered by everyone who’s ever seen him play football hesitantly waiting for that four-turnover meltdown we’ve all come to expect right when Cincinnati is on a roll. However, I was expecting that to happen when the Seahawks came to town and instead Dalton showed the NFL just how far he’s come as a leader. I like the Red Rifle as a legitimate MVP candidate, but he’ll have to keep up his spectacular production in order to surpass these next two guys…
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are universally regarded as the best quarterbacks in the NFL today, and for good reason. These guys have three interceptions between them after 12 combined games. Three interceptions in twelve games?! That is absolutely insane and it speaks to the deadly precision these guys have when distributing the football around the field. It’s even crazier once you consider that both of Rodgers’ interceptions came in the same game against a very scary St. Louis defense and Brady’s lone turnover was unluckily bobbled into the air by Julian Edelman who had just shortly before grotesquely dislocated his pinky finger. Rodgers has been known to flee the pocket when necessary, but both of these quarterbacks do such a great job moving behind the line of scrimmage that they rarely ever feel the need to get out on the run. Both Brady and Rodgers have dealt with shifting offensive lines this season as injuries have claimed their starting tackles, centers, and guards. The Patriots have used 11 different offensive line combinations so far this season – the most in the NFL! Despite the change and chaos around them these signal callers remain the best because of their ability to remain poised and consistently lead their teams to victory. Unless one of them loses an arm, Brady and Rodgers will be our MVP front-runners for the duration of the season.
And THAT, my friends, is exactly the sort of hard-hitting semi-semi professional journalism that this industry has been waiting for! R.I.P. to all those other random bloggers who aren’t coming with the COLD HARD FACTS and also can’t put “New England Patriots Equipment Manager (technically)” on their resume. Your days are numbered, suckas! No diss intended here folks, just trying to raise the collective bar here like Kendrick did with Control. Some have called me the Kendrick of this industry, and I’d be remiss to disagree with them. Check back tomorrow for your regularly schedule Fantasy Thursday programming, meanwhile I’ll be in a Hercules-like infatuated stupor because that girl I was dancing with last night called me funny today. Until next time!